Washington, D.C. (December 12, 2001) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has selected Chicago, Illinois, as the site of the BIO 2006 International Biotechnology Convention & Exhibition. This annual event has grown more than seven-fold since BIO was created in 1993, and has become the world’s premier biotechnology event.
Chicago is the urban heart of a Midwestern region that is home to a growing number of biotech startups in addition to some of the world’s largest biotech-oriented agricultural, pharmaceutical and industrial companies.
“The selection of this city represents an important milestone for BIO, marking the first time our international convention will be held in the Midwest,” said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. “In addition to the support of BIO member companies and organizations in the region, the city and state’s formal proposal garnered the unprecedented support of 12 state governments, vividly illustrating their commitment to nurturing this industry in the nation’s heartland.
“In addition to its obvious strength in agricultural biotechnology, the Midwest boasts a thriving biopharmaceutical industry as well. The region is home to an established cadre of multinational pharmaceutical companies and a growing a band of small biotech companies. A group of world-class academic research institutions help to fuel these enterprises with basic research, as does accessibility to other research strongholds, including those in Europe and Asia,” said Feldbaum. “The strength of the Midwestern biotech community, which we have observed first-hand during the site selection process, really lays to rest the notion that the biotech revolution is an East Coast/West Coast phenomenon in the U.S.”
As attendance at BIO’s annual convention has surged - surpassing 14,000 at BIO 2001 in San Diego - the size of convention facilities has become a critical factor in site selection. “McCormick Place in Chicago is a thoroughly modern, capacious facility that can accommodate more than 100,000 people,” noted Feldbaum. “We couldn’t ask for a more flexible venue, capable of handling whatever this fast-growing conference brings five years hence.”
Pam McDonough, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, made a formal presentation to Feldbaum and BIO’s executive staff in July, along with Department of Agriculture Director Joseph Hampton and other officials from the City of Chicago, as well as industry and trade association leaders.
“Being selected to host this conference is very important to the continued economic growth of the Midwest,” said McDonough. “We are delighted to win a spot in the rotation. It will create opportunities for us to promote biotechnology and agri-science, as well as help highlight all of the innovation occurring in incubators in Illinois and the Midwest.”
BIO’s annual convention will be held in Toronto in 2002; Washington, D.C., in 2003; San Francisco in 2004; and Philadelphia in 2005. Each year, the convention features more than 100 panel sessions, eminent plenary speakers (such as Francis S. Collins and J. Craig Venter at BIO 2001), and hundreds of exhibits and company presentations.
BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
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